On the Globalization of the QAnon Conspiracy Theory Through Telegram

Mohamad Hoseini, Philipe Melo, Fabricio Benevenuto, Anja Feldmann, Savvas Zannettou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory that has implications in the real world, with supporters of the theory participating in real-world violent acts like the US capitol attack in 2021. At the same time, the QAnon theory started evolving into a global phenomenon by attracting followers across the globe and, in particular, in Europe, hence it is imperative to understand how QAnon has become a worldwide phenomenon and how this dissemination has been happening in the online space. This paper performs a large-scale data analysis of QAnon through Telegram by collecting 4.4M messages posted in 161 QAnon groups/channels. Using Google's Perspective API, we analyze the toxicity of QAnon content across languages and over time. Also, using a BERT-based topic modeling approach, we analyze the QAnon discourse across multiple languages. Among other things, we find that the German language is prevalent in our QAnon dataset, even overshadowing English after 2020. Also, we find that content posted in German and Portuguese tends to be more toxic compared to English. Our topic modeling indicates that QAnon supporters discuss various topics of interest within far-right movements, including world politics, conspiracy theories, COVID-19, and the anti-vaccination movement. Taken all together, we perform the first multilingual study on QAnon through Telegram and paint a nuanced overview of the globalization of QAnon.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWebSci 2023 - Proceedings of the 15th ACM Web Science Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)979-8-4007-0089-7
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event15th ACM Web Science Conference, WebSci 2023 - Austin, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20231 May 2023

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference15th ACM Web Science Conference, WebSci 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • QAnon
  • social media
  • Telegram
  • topic modeling
  • toxicity analysis

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